back to article Samizdat no more: Old Unix source code opened for study

After years of lobbying by computer science luminaries, Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent (both owned by Nokia) have relented and will allow non-commercial study of the source code for Unix Research Editions 8, 9, and 10. It might sound like merely a historical artifact, but it's more than that. Unix source is an important computer …

  1. jake Silver badge
    Pint

    Norman Wilson's file naming convention is just sublime :-)

    That said, it's about time. We've been using this stuff for decades (See BSD 4.3 and SysVR3 and derivatives ... and pretty much continuously in the academic world ever since). Now we can do it in the open. Much thanks to all involved. This round's on me :-)

  2. joeldillon

    Does anyone care that much about STREAMS? (Usually capitalised, by the way). BSD sockets won out long since now.

    1. tfb Silver badge

      There seem to be at least two different things called 'streams', one of which is STREAMS and was in the SysV stuff, and the other is something else. I'm reasonably sure that the stuff in v8-v10 is the 'something else'. However I have not followed the discussion on this closely (there's too much mail), and I may have the details wrong.

      And yes, people care: this stuff is historically important and interesting to people who care about history.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "And yes, people care: this stuff is historically important and interesting to people who care about history."

        So, of no interest whatsoever to what seems like the majority of programmers who seem quite happy to continually repeat the mistakes made in the past.

    2. -tim

      The BSD socket layer you see in all modern operating systems is view into a streams like model. That model allows all the cool things like zero copy, firewall systems and Apache httpready filter. They are all bolted in using the model that steams introduced.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Comp Sci departments and others around the world can work with a newer Unix than 6.0"

    They've been able to do that for a long time. V 7 code was open-sourced years ago.

  4. /dev/null

    All the old UNIX source code you can eat...

    ...can be found at The Unix Heritage Society.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: All the old UNIX source code you can eat...

      I think you'll find that TFA pointed out a link to all that ... AND Unix Research Editions 8, 9, and 10. Probably the best way to access the complete archive is via ftp:

      ftp://www.tuhs.org

      Don't blame me for the "www" in that URL ;-)

      The Research UNIX archive in question is at:

      ftp://www.tuhs.org/UnixArchive/Distributions/Research/

      For an interesting take on the un*x theme, check out Coherent:

      ftp://www.tuhs.org/UnixArchive/Distributions/Other/Coherent

      You'll want the base & X11R5 floppy images to build a working GUI (the dos directory contains rawwrite.exe for burning floppys; you'll probably want to use dd). This thing is written in assembler, and is almost blindingly fast on a 386. It's a shame MWC went under, it had potential. Worth a look :-)

      Also of interest in that archive is Xenix:

      ftp://www.tuhs.org/UnixArchive/Distributions/Other/Xenix/

      Dig through that (you'll need to use strings on the binaries) and I think you'll discover Redmond didn't write a single line of code. It's all AT&T, MS was just a re-seller of source licenses.

      1. Down not across Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: All the old UNIX source code you can eat...

        For an interesting take on the un*x theme, check out Coherent:

        ftp://www.tuhs.org/UnixArchive/Distributions/Other/Coherent

        I remember that. It was quite reasonably priced at the time (around mid eighties) and IIRC I ran that on 286. It worked very well and I later ported some stuff onto CTIX on Convergent MiniFrame/MegaFrame.

        Here Robert, have a pint.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: All the old UNIX source code you can eat...

          Coherent cost US$99, was advertised on the back cover of Byte for a couple years in the mid-late 80s. Was also advertised in Dr. Dobbs Journal in the same timeframe, usually inside the front cover, but a few times on the back cover if I remember correctly (STOB, can you remember?).

          Linux (and MWC apathy, IMO) killed it, unfortunately. I liked Coherent, and still have it running on a small network.

  5. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    SCO declined to sue someone?

    1. Chemical Bob

      Re: Bah!

      There's SCO and The SCO Group. The SCO Group is the one full of people who drank too much bleach.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Bah!

        too much bleach

        Not enough soon enough, imho.

  6. Deryk Barker

    But let us not forget

    An even more important, groundbreaking OS - Multics.

    Its source code was made available online some years back at MIT: http://web.mit.edu/multics-history/

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: But let us not forget

      How about TOPS10?

      http://www.steubentech.com/~talon/pdp10/

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